Hot Diggity Dog!
Dog Lover's Ezine from Martia Nelson & Rincon


WELCOME!                                          June 4, 2008      Issue #3
The Fun Continues.
Martia Nelson & Rincon photoHello, dog lovers!
I've gotta tell ya, I'm having fun with this ezine.  It takes three days to put together, so it's no small feat, but I'm lovin it.
And you know Rincon -- ever enthusiastic about his advice column. He wants me to be sure to remind you to read "Dear Rincon" below.  I think he has really helped someone today.
Tail wags till next time,



P.S.  Forward this issue to other dog lovers!


Cool It.
Can't believe it's almost summer?  Having a little trouble getting used to the warm weather?  This will cool you off.  Click here. 
Martia Gets Irked at Convertible Guys.
red convertibleWhat's up with men in convertibles-with-tops-down tossing their dogs into the back seat without doggie seat belts and just zipping away?
I'm new to my town dog park, but in the first month I encountered this phenomenon twice.    
At first I was shocked at the men's lack of awareness.  Hadn't they thought this through?  After talking with them, I was disappointed in their stubborn commitment to putting their dogs at risk for reasons that made no sense.
I can overlook a lot of things (okay, maybe not a lot, but I'm working on it), but not things that endanger animals. 

Rincon and I approached the first man as he was about to back his red convertible, with a gorgeous white dog sitting majestically in the back seat, out of his parking space.  I've learned that giving people advice about their dogs can cause a backlash as quickly as telling parents how to raise their children, so I eased into it with a friendly, we're-both-dog-lovers approach.
"Hi!  What a beautiful dog!  What kind is he?"
For a minute we chatted in mutual admiration of his companion before I broached the subject. "Have you thought of a doggie seat belt?  He really needs one in a convertible." 
"Nah, he's happy like this.  He can move around in the back seat. He likes to do that," the man answered, pointing from one side of the back seat to the other.  I shuddered inside but tried not to show it.  This wasn't the time to launch into a lesson about how dangerous that was.  Stay focused, I told myself.  If I could get this dog into a seat belt, that problem would be solved, too.
"Of course he's happy," I agreed, "but if you stop fast or have an accident, he can be thrown out of the car."
"I drive really carefully when he's with me," the man answered, as though that solved the problem.
"There are other people who drive badly, though," I reasoned.  "Having an accident might not be up to you.  And we all make driving mistakes.  Without a seatbelt, he's at the mercy of everyone's mistake.  He could get seriously hurt, or killed.  He's a wonderful dog.  He deserves to be safe."
"Yes, he is wonderful," the man agreed, his eyes brightening now that I was back on a subject he could relate to. 
It was time to get real.  "What's the real reason he doesn't have a seatbelt?" I asked.  "Is it that you think it wouldn't look cool?"
 "No.  I was in a car accident once and would have been killed if I'd been wearing my seatbelt.  The only reason I was able to get out was that I wasn't strapped in."   At least he was leveling with me.  But where was the logic?  This car had no top!   The real problem was not how to get out in an emergency but how to stay in on a daily basis.
To me, the man's decision was not based on logic, but on emotion.  His accident must have been terrifying -- I could feel the intensity as he spoke of it.  But by fixating on the one condition that saved his life back then (not wearing a seatbelt) and imposing it on his dog in the present, he was endangering his dog rather than protecting him.
I realized then that I wasn't going to convince the man of anything that day.  So I didn't bring up the subject of what would happen if his dog leaned too far out and lost his balance, or had a surge of latent prey drive when a cat bolted across someone's lawn.
"Well, will you at least think about a seat belt?" I asked, hoping to plant a seed that might germinate as time went by.  That seed blew right out the window (the window is big with the top down) when he responded by offering to drive Rincon and me to our car a couple blocks away.
Huh?  Hadn't we just had a conversation?  Take that chance with MY dog??  I don't think so.
I got nowhere a lot faster with the second man.  The conversation started the same, but we quickly came to the cornerstone of his logic:  His car was such a piece of junk that it was unsafe anyway, so a seatbelt wouldn't make a difference.  His repeating it three times let me know that that was a far as we were going to get.
I try to understand, I really do. 
And it makes me wonder: How often do we all project our own issues, big or small, onto our dogs in that same oblivious way?  We overfeed our dogs because we want to make them (us) happy, as though it won't shorten their lives or give them joint problems.  Or we let them get away with overly rambunctious behavior because we assume they (we) will feel bad if we set limits.
When we see this dynamic occurring in another person and feel compelled to help their dog, how do we do it?  Whether the person is in denial or simply unaware of what they're really doing to the dog they love, getting through to them in a constructive way can be tricky.  I'm still working on it
I hoped I would see both these guys again at the dog park so I could continue our conversations, but it hasn't happened yet.  Perhaps continuing the dialogue with them, easing forward slowly just a bit at a time, is the way to go.  I'm willing to try.
Hey, convertible guys, write me.  We need to talk.
Enroll This Week for Summer School! 
school busIn just two weeks the next series of Obedience and Dog Dancing classes will start. Thinking of joining us?  You'll be impressed with what you'll accomplish -- and you'll have fun! 
6 WEDNESDAYS, JUNE 18 to JULY 30 (skip July 2) 
Obedience: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Dog Dancing 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Enroll this week to be sure you're included.
Contact Martia at (707) 823-4403 or .
Can't make the classes?  Call for a private session. 
I Can't Believe It Really Works.
Fresh N Floss by Booda
Rincon's not big on tooth care, but he loves a good chew toy.  He picked out a hefty one at Western Farms.  Strands of green and white string braided into one big, tough rope to knaw on.  Yum.

The tag said it was a "Fresh N Floss" by Booda and claimed that not only was it minty, but it would floss Rincon's teeth. 
Ha!  Like I'm going to be taken in by that kind of marketing.  
I've never bought anything for my dog because it was "minty" -- mint is no match for the stuff that goes into a Lab's mouth.  And I know how hard it is to floss my own teeth, how's Rincon going to manage it?
What sold me on this thing was that it looked like Rincon couldn't decimate it in under a week.
I was right.  Two months later it was still holding together.  Sort of.  All the strings had come unbraided and were hanging loose, only bound together by a knot at one end.  Rincon continued knawing away.  One of my friends who had seen the tag joked, "Don't bother him, he's flossing."
Not such a joke!  As the weeks went by -- to my absolute amazement -- the brown build up on Rincon's teeth I was supposed to have prevented by brushing them more often (okay, I'm the one who's lax at tooth care) disappeared.  Gone!  I could hardly believe it.  Now his teeth all but sparkle.
If your dog (wink wink) isn't a frequent brusher, you might want to get him to floss.  You could tell him its minty.
Questions Dogs Only Dare to Ask Each Other
Rincon, closeup  Dear Rincon,


  My people leave me home alone most of the day. 
  What should I do with my time?

  Easily bored,

  Maxine, multi-breed heritage


Dear Maxine,


Here's the schedule I suggest:


1. Jump on the furniture. 


2. Run up and down the hall with dirty laundry in your mouth (but get every sock back into the hamper when you're done - and don't eat anything!). 


3. Play cards with the cat, and just ignore when he cheats - because he will. 


4. Watch Animal Planet and Oprah; this is the only time you'll have control of the remote. 


5. If you want to mess with your people's minds, vacuum. 


6. During the last hour, read -- it will expand your world.  I find cookbooks and the grocery list to be the most gripping.
When your people come home, they'll be tired, but you'll be refreshed.  Bring them the leash and take them for a walk.


Your pal,


The Candid Canine


Dog readers, Send your questions to Rincon at  Be sure to include your name and breed or mix (if known).
Have I Mentioned Seat Belts?
Our dogs are even more vulnerable in cars than we are, and seat belts can save their lives.
If your car is not a convertible, I can't tell you to put your dog's seatbelt on for every errand around town because I don't do that.  But I highly recommend it for longer trips. (Is you pooch going on vacation with you this summer?)
There are great dog seatbelts on the market; most good pet stores have them starting at only $15 -$25.  They fit like a harness (some are even padded to be comfy) and give enough freedom that the wearer can move between sitting and lying down.  (I suggest buying a seat belt rather than just using a regular dog harness that doesn't say it was designed to also be used in the car.)
The right size is big enough to be comfortable but not loose.  Tighten the straps just enough that your dog doesn't have room to turn around inside the seatbelt -- you don't want any acrobatics going on in there. 
The models I've seen are secured by slipping the car seat belt through a loop on the dog seat belt, something like securing a baby's car seat. 
Be sure to give your dog lots of positive reinforcement as you put on the seatbelt and attach it in the car.  Help your dog to feel that putting on the seatbelt is wonderful and fun!

Dancing for Dollars 
Jennifer Marshall's dog paintingHi, it's Rincon here. 
If you're already a loyal reader, you know that I'm the therapy dog for a cancer support painting group.  Their one-year grant fell through at the last minute, and I'm raising money for them to continue meeting.
I'm doing my doggone best, but I need your help.  I mean, I can dance and make people happy, but only humans can donate online.
So pretty please with mint on top, check out my Fred Astaire moves in the video clips at and send your friends there, too.  I hope that everyone who gets a
chuckle or feels their spirits lifted from my dancing -- or who knows the importance of cancer support groups -- will click on the online donation  link and spread the happiness.
Lets save the support group!

(Dog above was painted in the support group by Jennifer Marshall. Copyright Jennifer Marshall 2007.)

Dog Health Alert !
NO Raisins, Grapes, Onions, Chocolate, Cocoa or Macadamia Nuts for Dogs
I want to pass on an alert I got today in a Canine Companions for Independence newsletter: 
 first aid kit
"This is important as we live in wine/grape country - Poison control has said as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be toxic to dogs. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern. Onions, chocolate, cocoa and macadamia nuts can be fatal, too. Even if you don't have a dog, you might have friends who do, and this is worth passing on to them." 
That Is the Question.
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You are welcome to reproduce this issue of Hot Diggity Dog!, in part or in its entirety, as long as you include the paragraph and copyright immediately below.  (Also please send me a copy of the reproduction or a link to the webpage.  Thanks and Enjoy!)


Martia Nelson is a dog trainer , as well as a life coach and author of "Coming Home: The Return to True Self."

Copyright (c) 2008 Martia Nelson. All Rights Reserved.

Hot Diggity Dog!
Dog Dancing & Obedience Training
Martia Nelson & Rincon
PO Box 1932, Sebastopol, CA  95473      (707) 823-4403
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